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Trebuchet Online

This website is dedicated to all of those trebuchet lovers from another trebuchet lover.This website was also created for my Senior project in High School. Below I have a Personal Narrative of why I have chosen to base my senior project on Trebuchets. Follow the links below the Personal Narrative to see my experiences, About Trebuchets, other links, and an original stories written by me, Mandi Glauser.
Trebuchets and I
My senior year of high school I was presented with the option to create a senior project on any subject I chose. I chose trebuchets. I chose trebuchets because I had recently attended a summer program that allowed me to build a trebuchet and it sparked an interest in them. I also wanted to investigate a little more into engineering, a field into which I was considering majoring in college for. For that decision I took a long road to decide whether I wanted to or not.
During the summer after my junior year of high school I attended Junior Engineering Math and Science (J.E.M.S.) summer workshop. It is a program to introduce high school juniors and seniors to engineering. I spent two weeks as a college student at the University of Idaho taking classes such as engineering concepts, CAD/computer modeling, engineering design, and leadership.
The workshop centered its curriculum around a main theme. Learning about the construction, physics, dynamics, and finally building a trebuchet. A trebuchet is similar to a catapult. The trebuchet differs from a catapult in that the force supplied to the projectile is not made by a spring action. It is fired by dropping a weight on one side of a ďseesaw-likeĒ structure. To build one of these mechanisms, I needed to learn how to plan the layout of the structure, to recognize the strengths of the materials, the aerodynamics of the projectiles and their flight path, and most importantly to work with a team. We made models and tested them. My model threw its projectile the second farthest out of the workshop. All of the students that attended were put in groups to build and test the trebuchets for a final competition at the end of the workshop. My groupís trebuchet fired a three pound weight approximately forty feet. It was definitely not the furthest but I was proud it flew forward. The summer program was really fun I realized that college would be a blast. I also found trebuchets were really interesting.
The school year started, the last year of my high school career. The opportunity to follow up on the trebuchet presented itself when I found out I had to have a senior project. I was a little reluctant to have the trebuchet as my subject of research though. I had already learned a little about it and I wasnít sure if it would hold my interest. The deadline for deciding our subjects drew near and I hadnít found an alternative. As I researched the trebuchet my interest was held and I loved researching it. It also gave me a little insight into the engineering degree. I found that I would love to research it but I wouldnít like it for a career.
My senior project consisted of many smaller projects. There were five required components that were worth a full one hundred points each. Then my senior class was given a list of optional components which we were required to do at least five of them. The optional components were worth various amounts of points but we were to aim for another five hundred points. To have a total of one thousand points to pass English class which would determine if anyone would graduate.
The required components were relatively easy. There was the personal narrative, original research, response essay to a book related to your topic, senior portfolio, and project presentation in front of a panel of judges. The senior portfolio was the hardest thing to do. It was the only component that took all year long.
The portfolio was a new development of the Garden Valley High Schoolís graduation requirements. The summer before the 2005-2006 academic year the state of Idaho began a bill to require all Idaho high school students to have a portfolio and presentation before being allowed to graduate. This bill was past in the early 2005-2006 academic year to come into effect for the 2006-2007 academic year. The new principle, Kim Harding, decided to let the Garden Valley get a jump on the plan and required not only the Garden Valley seniors to make a portfolio but all high school grades. The presentations would be at the end of the year and each person would have a partner to help with timing and notes during the presentation
She expertly scheduled the freshman through juniorís presentations a about two and a half months before the seniors. To give the seniors a chance to be on the judging panel and see examples of presentations to make their presentations better and not a shot in the dark. This also gave her the chance to perfect the requirements and the grading in time for the senior presentations. But unlike the under classmen the seniorís presentations were to present their senior project along with their portfolio of their best work from their whole high school career.
The presentation for the seniors was a thirty minute speech with at least a power point slide show for visual aid. The under classmen presentations were shorter. The seniorís week before graduation week were scheduled so that there were purely presentations. Only one hour scheduled for one presentation and another hour for the personís partnerís presentation was all the seniors had to attend school that week for. The entire extra week of school off limited the seniorís time for the senior project thus it became a part of it.
The other requirements for the senior project: the personal narrative; original research; and the response essay to a book related to your topic, took a lot less time. The Response essay to the book took only about a few hours to write but a few weeks to read the book.
At the beginning of the second semester of the 2005-2006 academic year, the English teacher, Mrs. Mortimer, assigned to get the book either by library loan or personal purchase within a few weeks. We were given some but little time in class to read the book. Although it was hardly needed since I could read the book at home. The essay was easy since all that was required was three to five pages, double spaced, a few quotes and a good argument. The Original research didnít take nearly as long but had quite a lot more work to it.
For my original research I planned to study the effects of changing various variables on the trebuchet. I wrote my plan: find the changeable factors, design an information sheet, build a model, conduct experiments, and gather research. It seemed simple enough. The changeable factors just took me a few minutes to think of. The information sheet took me another few minutes. But the hard part was building the trebuchet model.
To build it I had to first find plans. Making my own plans would have taken a long time, so I went on to the internet and found an article by Paul Schmidt who described perfectly how to make one. The next challenge was to get the materials to make the trebuchet. I had to travel to Boise Fifty five miles away before I could get started It took a long time before I could make the trip. But once I did I accidentally didnít get enough wood. Then I had to improvise with different wood that I bought from the local lumber yard. Making the trebuchet was fun and took me a whole weekend.
I finally finished the trebuchet and realized I would have to make a lot of different trebuchets to study every changeable factor in the trebuchet that I had originally planned to study. So I narrowed the study to only three factors; the sling length, the weight of the counter weight, and the weight of the projectile. I used washers for weight so I could add or subtract any amount. I used a ping pong ball, golf ball, and a bouncy ball for the projectiles. I just altered the string length for the sling. When the trebuchet model was ready I began my research.
I had a lot of fun with it I borrowed a friend from class to help me measure the distance the projectile flew, and used the hall out side of class to fire my creation. There were some times when the experiments became a spectatorís sport during class. After all the fun I wrote my report which took only a few hours.
The last required component was the personal narrative. What you are reading now happens to be that very paper. I originally wrote it as why I chose the trebuchet for my project but I altered it to put it on my website, and to give to the panel of judges at my presentation. I think what it contains is a given.
Other than the required components there were the optional components. Out of a long list of options I chose the childrenís book, website, original fiction, research paper and annotated reading. All of the components that I chose were worth one hundred points except the annotated reading which was worth only twenty-five points. You probably noticed that that only adds up to about four hundred twenty- five points instead of the full five hundred needed to get the full one thousand points.
I didnít realize this until about a day before the last chance to turning any optional components. Mrs. Mortimer sat me down as I was freaking out and simulated what my grade would have been if I only received eight hundred out of the whole one thousand points. I would still receive an A because I worked so hard on all of my work throughout the year. My childrenís book was the first optional component I made. The story was easy to think of but writing it so I wouldnít get carried away with the story, making it a novel, was really hard. I love to pay attention to details so I am afraid it might still be a little long. The covers were fun to make I used two pieces of card board and covered them with paper then I folded part of one piece so that it would open. The holes in the cardboard to put the string that would hold them together were hard I took an exacto knife and punched through then cleaned up the hole I punched. I drew a castle on a different piece of paper and printed the title and my name then cut those out and pasted them on the front cover.
Only on the front cover I put laminating paper on it to help make it look polished and like a real book. For the pages I took a tan cardstock and cut it to a little bit smaller than the covers and printed my story on the pages. Printing it was not to difficult I went into word and formatted the page to the size I had cut the pages in to and just positioned the writing where I wanted it. I then cut holes in the pages to line up with the holes in the cardboard so I could bind the finished product but I wasnít done. I had to draw and color the pictures. I was leaving scool for a trip which limited my time to get the childrenís book done so I drew as many pictures as I could and had to have a friend turn it in for me I wasnít done with the pictures so I received a fifty out of one hundred for it. After I came back from my trip I finished the book and turned it in with my portfolio to have my English teacher re-grade to get a better grade.
The next component I did was the website. It took a long time but I was prepared because I had taken a web page design class my sophomore year. I had a hard time getting it on the web. There wasnít a lot of information that I could put on there because I had only just started my senior project so I didnít get a very good grade on that either. Later I updated it to use for my presentation of the senior project.
I added my finished childrenís book all of the essays for the components that I wrote, my original fiction and my experience at JEMS. I wrote my original fiction from my childrenís book story. I liked the story so much but I wanted to expand it to more detail. So I did for my original fiction component.
The research paper took a long time. I had to annotate ten sources all of which were really long. I found nine articles on the web that when printed were at least four pages long. Then one article from a magazine that I think helped the most. Then writing the paper was a pain. I had to get a good amount of information and with those then articles I had a lot so the information I was writing just kept going on and on. I found it really interesting though so it wasnít boring to write it. With the practice of writing the research paper, my last component was easy.
The annotated reading was like a short version of the research paper. The class had done two practice annotated readings in the beginning of the semester. But that was quite a while from when I started the last component. However, I got back into the swing of reading the article and making notes fast.
The whole project has enlightened me on the medieval warfare and I have come to the decision to not make engineering my major in college. I think it would be fun but it would just be a desk job with a lot to worry about. Trebuchets are a wonderful physics machine they are remarkably accurate and sophisticated for the age they were used in. I think I will carry a love for them the rest of my life.

My JEMS experience

Includes pictures and my groups evaluation of the experience.

About Trebuchets

Includes three responces to trebuchet articles, a research paper, a reponce paper to the book "The Art of the Catapult" by William Gurstelle, and an original research project done by me, Mandi Glauser

Childrens Stories

Contains an originally written childrens book written by yours truely for second grade levels and a longer written verson for sixth graders.

Links to Other Awsome Trebuchet Pages

Website By Mandi Glauser @ Garden Valley High School

Contact imformation :

This page was last updated May 5, 2006 10:00am